The coastal area of Go Cong Dong, a major agricultural hub in Tien Giang province, has taken effective measures against drought and saltwater intrusion into rivers this year. (Source: VNA)

Tien Giang (VNA) - The coastal area of Go Cong Dong, a major agricultural hub in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, has taken effective measures against drought and saltwater intrusion into rivers this year.

Ung Hong Nghi, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said to cope with seawater intrusion in Go Cong Dong, the province had built dams and sluice gates to keep out saltwater and keep in freshwater during the early part of the dry season this year.

The province had also set up cropping schedules for the 2018-2019 winter – spring crop to mitigate the damage caused by drought, he said.   

Rice fields in areas near the coast or lacking water for irrigation had switched to drought - and saltwater- resistant crops for winter – spring, he added.

Nguyen Van Quy, head of Go Cong Dong district's Division of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers in the district had a bumper harvest in the winter – spring rice crop with an average yield of 6.9 tonnes per hectare.

The district’s farmers also planted more than 5,000ha of other crops such as water melon, squash and gourds, earning high incomes, he said.

Nguyen Van Ga, Director of the Kieng Phuoc Global GAP Dragon Fruit Co-operative in Go Cong Dong district’s Kieng Phuoc commune, said dragon fruits had been cultivated in recent years and it grew well in the district’s coastal areas.

Farmers earned 500-600 million VND (21,530-25,840 USD) per hectare of the fruit annually, he said.

Go Cong Dong farmers had turned nearly 130ha of low-yield rice fields into dragon fruit orchards and export the fruit, he said.

Go Cong Dong often suffers from severe drought and saltwater intrusion in the dry season, affecting rice, vegetable and fruit production.

Under the province’s plan to restructure agriculture in the coastal areas of Go Cong Dong from now through 2025, three rice crops will not be grown and, instead, one to two rice crops will be rotated with other crops. 

This is aimed at helping Go Cong Dong cope with drought and saltwater, improving farmers’ incomes and developing agriculture sustainably.

Go Cong Dong has around 30,000ha under rice and an annual output of nearly 500,000 tonnes of paddy.

In 2016 it faced severe drought and saltwater intrusion, which destroyed more than 5,000ha of rice and thousands of hectares of vegetables and fruits, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.-VNA